Sound Thinking joins music and computing at UML and Lowell High

Sound Thinking—just plain smarts, or the science of sound?  Actually, it's the name of an interdisciplinary course developed by UMass Lowell faculty Jesse Heines (Computer Science), Gena Greher (Music), and Alex Ruthmann (Music) as part of their NSF-funded Performamatics project.

On May 3, 2011, UMass Lowell students from the Spring 2011 offering of Sound Thinking (taught by Heines and Greher) demonstrated their course projects in Durgin Hall on South Campus. Attendees included faculty from UMLís Music Department, Lowell High School teachers, and Lowell High School students.

The UML undergraduates had created music+computing projects that were programmed in Scratch, a software environment published by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group in MITís Media Lab. In addition, most projects incorporated the IchiBoard, a sensor input accessory device developed by UMass Lowell Computer Science's Engaging Computing Group.

The IchiBoard allowed students to interact with the music and change it in real time while it was playing. Compositions ranged from interpretations of classical pieces to modern works that were sometimes a-melodic.

Overall, the non-CS students felt that they had learned a significant amount about programming computers, while the CS students felt that they extended their understanding of how computer technology can be applied in a seemingly very different field.

Music Performance student Maria Price and CS student Chris Adoretti demonstrating their musical pong program written in Scratch.

The IchiBoard, developed by CS doctoral candidate Mark Sherman, includes an accelerometer, light sensor, sound sensor, slide control, buttons, and jacks for external sensors. It was used by Sound Thinking students to provide input to their algorithmic music compositions.

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This page contains a single entry by Martin, Fred published on May 6, 2011 5:20 PM.

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